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To be honest, I was looking forward to Australia more than New Zealand. I guess I just knew more about Oz than New Zealand but before I headed off for a gap year from my career I was doing most of my day dreaming about lying on Bondi Beach, going surfing and trying to remember what Ayers Rock is now called.
However, it turned out that I learned more about life, the universe and a few other things while in New Zealand. This place opened my eyes to so many things that I came home feeling that I have gained a new outlook on life from my time spent there. It isn’t often you can say something like that so it is worth considering what this place has to offer that makes it so special to me.
When you work in the same building every day for a few years time just seems to slip past really quickly. I can’t quite believe that I have now been in the same job for 5 years but it’s true; I just checked my contract. The time I spent in New Zealand was probably the longest fortnight of my life, and I mean that in the best possible way. I had sorted out one of those comprehensive New Zealand tours and every day was different from the last one. A day is an awfully long time when you have nothing to do but enjoy yourself, and I did an awful lot of enjoying. After my time in New Zealand and then Australia I went back to work thinking I had been gone for ages and was a bit miffed when no one even seemed to notice that I hadn’t been at work for the last few weeks.
One thing I learned early on in my time in New Zealand was the fact that it is easy to live life in this country. In my relatively short time there on a New Zealand tour I saw whales, chilled out on the beach, gaped at a volcano, visited a thermal mud pool and did lots of other exciting stuff. It was while I was sitting looking at the active volcano that I suddenly realised that life is for living .This might sound like a kind of stupid statement coming from a grown man but it was so long since I had done anything exciting that I had almost forgotten how exciting life could be. I made a vow right there and then that I would never knowingly walk past a bungee jump, a surfer’s beach or some other possible new activity without stopping and seeing if I could join in. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long to put this new outlook on life to the test.
I grew up in the UK thinking that foreign countries were where other people lived. Of course, I knew that immigrants have gone to other countries throughout history but I just couldn’t imagine any reason for giving up the life I had in the UK. As soon as I stepped onto New Zealand soil I felt right at home, though. The friendliness of the locals and the familiar yet exotic feel to everything around made me think that I had found somewhere I could easily live. After a fantastic couple of weeks I found myself seriously torn between starting a new life in Wellington or Auckland. In the end reality struck and I had to come to terms with going back home again, but I know now that starting a new life elsewhere is possible and could be a great idea too.